Archive for August, 2011

Album Review

Sway – Songs For Your Sweetheart (self released, 2011)


SwaySummer Donna (self released)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


 
Totally fucking incredible. I’m a sucker for banjos, mandolins, ukuleles, handclaps, and boy/girl harmonies so I’d already be hooked on Sway, but it’s Catie Rae’s voice that pushes them over the edge. It’s beautifully unique and she’s able to let it loose & go wild without ever losing control. Some of the best tracks are when it’s just Catie & her guitar goin to town like on “Sprout.” So the easiest route is to tag Sway with the country & folk labels but there’s so much more to them than that (just like those giant alien robots). They infuse their sound with some carefree & unruly punk aesthetics. They’re just too fucking cool.

A lot of the songs are unlike anything they’ve done before, adding some melodrama making me think of Devotchka or Victory At Sea, but then they include a few remakes of songs they already recorded to balance it out. A strange move for your third record but some of the makeovers are way better than the originals. It’s saying a lot when one of my previous favorites was “Summer Donna” and I love the new version of it even more. Everything on here though is so goddamn catchy and charming. Perhaps due to my critique of their last record, Rock Bottom, which was missing the laughing and chatter bookending some songs on the first album, they added that back in. I think that means I now can control the future or something?

The best part of Songs For Your Sweetheart? IT’S FUCKING FREE. You can still buy a sexy letterpressed disc (drawn by Swayer Lillie and printed up by Lillie & my wife Elise). But if you’re looking for some free fun, download this hot piece right here and you’ll never listen to anything else. If you need ANY more convincing, just let it be known that I’ve listened to Songs like a hundred bazillion times and I still want more.

Disclaimer: all 6 people in Sway are my pals IRL

Album Review

Boy Without God – God Bless The Hunger (self released, 2011)


Boy Without GodOf Cowboys & Other Beautiful Men (self released)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


 
The sort of sound that’s not usually my bag (saxophones, song-oriented, God-y) but when it’s powerful & memorable enough that one or two years later I’m able to recognize a song I only heard once, I would be a jackass if I didn’t pay attention. A brilliantly smooth blend of new Americana, old blues, soul, new wave clean garage rock, doo-wop, jazz, and anything else he’s inspired by. Poetic lyrics sung in the most passionate deep baritone that sounds maybe a little like the dude from Crash Test Dummies, except not annoying and totally sincere. I’d say his voice is what hooks you in the beginning but it’s probably just the most noticeably unique aspect. Songs break in cathartic crescendos with angry guitar destruction & dissonant horn skronking or blissful howling & lush dreams. Lonely acoustic guitars, deft electric Neil Young sounds, flushed out strings & brass, mourning heartbreak, uplifting youthful love, straight up the catchiest fucking tunes. Endlessly listenable and hands down one of the greatest records this year.

Easily Gabriel’s most well thought out and complete sounding record I’ve heard. It’s obvious this is what he’s wanted to sound like. More people are involved on this record, both in terms of instruments & vocals (including the addition of some fantastic boy/girl harmonies) and in terms of production & mastering. The physical disc is printed by Repeat Press, the same dude who did that slick as hell High Aura’d album.

Album Review

Arabian Horses – Guardians Of The Flame (Full Of Nothing, 2011)


Arabian HorsesGuardians Of The Flame (excerpt) (Full Of Nothing)

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


 
Lone bro meandering through post-Irene wasteland, worshipper of the Six String Samurai. Echoes waving in the heat, ghouls floating over empty shells, vengeful riffs churn, slam out a crunchy dirge, escalating to banger of the month. Toms & kick pounding hard. Relentless rhythm for the weary restless. Chaos unfolds in blistering hot sheets, a pulsing psych fury in its wake. It stutters, crumbles in on itself, left to decay in the howling post-apocalypse.

Mixes

HOTSHOT

CC image via

 
GOOD NEWS EVERYONE. I got a real top notch job. Gonna be an archivist at Simmons College. See, I’m in the graduate program at Simmons for archiving and they hired me for a full time position to archive shit and manage the student workers. There’s so many reasons this job is the best fucking thing ever, like regular hours, holidays off, benefits, tuition reduction…

Also, I’m done with my old job at CinemaSalem and have some time off between now and when I start at Simmons, so I’m taking a little MUCH needed vacation. And you know I like to post mixes before I go do my thing. This one’s called HOTSHOT ’cause that’s me baby. BAM.

Part of what I’m going to do on this vacation is figure out how Anti-Gravity Bunny needs to change in order for me to continue blogging. Basically, since I’ll be working the 9-5 deal with a long commute, AGB can’t be the same, I’m just not sure what I need to do to still make it work. But fear not, loyal nerds, I’ll come back with a genius plan and all will be well. Now…

Download HOTSHOT
1. starcircleanatomy – Unline
2. Maria Minerva – California Scheming
3. Wet Hair – Cosmic Radio
4. Mind Over Mirrors – You Ain’t Reeling
5. Foot Village – Protective Nourishment (BIG A little a Remix)
6. Nordic Soul – Wasserfall
7. Ezekiel Honig – Seaside Pastures Part 2
8. Floris Vanhoof – Electronic Mantra
9. Myrmyr – Hot Snow Part I
10. Matt Davis & Javier Reséndiz – Ode To The Tomato
11. Asva – Birds

Jenks Miller & Nicholas Szczepanik Contest Winner


Through my rigorous & multi-tiered selection process, I have randomly selected a winner out of the pool of zillions of contestants for this glorious Jenks Miller & Nicholas Szczepanik collaborative CD. Since you all were just telling me your opinions, I couldn’t really pick a favorite like I did with the Mamaleek haiku contest. However, as luck would have it, the winner’s favorite Nicholas Szczepanik piece was also my favorite. A-N-D the winner is none other than the exceedingly awesome Joseph Davenport of Millipede fame, who’s got a new album Realms due out soon mastered by Lasse Marhaug!! Here’s what Davenport had to say:

“I’m pretty into Nicholas’ new record Please Stop Loving Me. Further proof that he’s getting better as he goes along. And what musician doesn’t desire to achieve that?”

So, congrats to Joseph for winning this hot piece of noise drone. There were a few others that had some nice things to say about Szczepanik & Miller, though, so I figured might as well share!

Blake Conley, of the band Brother Ares, is a big fan of Jenks Miller’s The Invisible Mountain. “i really enjoy invisible mountain. the weird mix of dylan carlson esque telecaster twang combined w/ some of the best loping, head nodding minimalist basslines, circular tribal drumming and black metal vocals buried just enough in the mix as to not kill the groove really speaks to me and have been inspiring my guitar thought process.”

And then Michael Britten, half of the Music Ruins Lives crew, had a ton of insightful things to say about Szczepanik’s Dear Dad. “Szczepanik’s “Dear Dad” stands out to me in his body of work primarily because it was my first exposure to the artist, but also on account of what the release signifies: an overtly biographical piece in a genre not best known for its exposition. It is always interesting to be able to view art in the context of what forces it is in response to, and with “Dear Dad”, the listener is very much able to inhabit the (assumed) relationship between Nicholas Szczpanik and his father; the cycle of moods presented make me wonder if “Dear Dad” exists explicitly because Szcepanik could muster no other way to approach his feelings outside of his craft. Or maybe the dormant practitioner of literary criticism in me could also just be jumping at the chance to heavy-handedly seek mimesis and catharsis within the authorial intent of the work, who knows.”

Now, if you entered the contest and didn’t win, keep in mind that Small Doses is on their way to giving American Gothic the vinyl treatment very soon. And I would HIGHLY recommend picking this up on some sweet wax because it’s just SO. FUCKING. GOOD.

CONTEST: Jenks Miller & Nicholas Szczepanik CD Giveaway


I got an extra copy of the amazingly amazing Jenks Miller & Nicholas Szczepanik collaboration American Gothic. And even though this is awesome enough to own two copies of, I think that’s a little stingy. Sharing is caring! So I’m having a contest that’s way less elaborate than the Mamaleek one and requires almost no effort on your part.

Just shoot me an email at justin [at] antigravitybunny [dot] com with the subject line “American Gothic Contest” and tell me what your favorite song/side/album/installation/whatever is of either Nicholas Szczepanik or Jenks Miller/Horseback. If there’s a reason or a story behind why you love it so, feel free to share. Submit your response by Sunday night, or more appropriately, before I wake up Monday morning, and you might win a copy of that glorious CD, still sealed in its protective plasticity. The winner will be announced sometime next week.

Go forth, and spread the Miller/Szczepanik love!

Album Review

Laughing Eye Weeping Eye – Where Snakes & Seers Go (self released, 2011)


Laughing Eye Weeping EyeThe Mighty Ship

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player (version 9 or above) is required to play this audio clip. Download the latest version here. You also need to have JavaScript enabled in your browser.


 
If you’re a regular AGB reader, I’m sure you’ve noticed I’m not too into weird folksy stuff. But every now and then, something really weird comes along and sweeps me off my feet, smothering me with smooches. That’s Laughing Eye Weeping Eye. This shit is wacky as fuck and it’s the only time I’ve deemed “freak folk” an appropriate & relevant descriptor.

Chicagoans Rebecca Schoenecker and Patrick Holbrook probably heard all the lame jokers getting labeled as freak folk and were like “fuck this” and felt the urge to show everybody what’s up. The heart of LEWE’s weirdness is Rebecca’s initially almost unbearable vocals. At first, she sounds whiney, abrasive, and incompetent but by the end of the album you realize she can actually have a remarkably beautiful voice. She chooses when to sound like a howling cat, enchanting siren, demented shaman, or elegant princess, and it always works perfectly.

Like most freak folkers, LEWE’s array of instruments is vast but pretty traditional. There’s the tambourines, bells, chimes, recorders, Casios, guitars, plenty of handclapping, and, most importantly, the ever-present and always welcome harmonium. In fact, it sounds like they use a harmonium as the core for most tracks and I fucking LOVE IT. Gorgeous reeds humming and wheezing those irresistible droning chords, adding an element of soothing bliss to the frequently atonal album.

I’m not gonna lie, when I first heard Where Snakes & Seers Go, I wasn’t sold. I was damn interested because anything this weird always catches my attention, but it took me awhile to see its genius & inner beauty. Laughing Eye Weeping Eye probably aren’t going to be the next Prince Rama but I’m absolutely certain their fans are going to be wayyyy more dedicated. Once you have that LEWE epiphany, you’re fuckin hooked for life.

And the album is available on the cheap digitally and analog-ally with the limited LP being pressed on some super swanky pink/lavender vinyl, which they somehow did even though this is self released? I think? Unless I missed the label info somewhere. Dunno. Either way, slick as hell and totally worth the mere $10.